Roofing Blog

Who pays when solar modules fail?

Solar Industry Vol. 2 | Issue 4 | December 2010
Robert Herr

Read full article here.

With so many new companies entering into and competing in the solar energy marketplace, how do the parties ensure that key components of a solar generation facility perform as intended?

Rigorous commissioning and performance testing might address immediate issues. But what happens when photovoltaic modules do not meet performance expectations or the inverter fails during the later years of the project’s operation? What happens when a developer or contractor obtains modules from an inexpensive overseas supplier and the modules degrade more quickly than projected?

What good is a warranty from a company that will not be around in a decade to respond to a claim? What remedies exist when key components fail to perform as intended? Is there insurance available to respond to these risks? Read More

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BIA – Hawaii Remodelers – March 7, 2010

remodeling and restoration arm of the Building Industry Association (BIA) of Hawaii, will be offering helpful information on remodeling, landscaping and design in this weekly column. We know you will find these columns loaded with helpful information.

Green Roofs Make Green Sense
Over the l Members of the BIA-Hawaii Remoders (BHR), the ast few years, many homes and commercial buildings have renovated their roofs with Photovolatic Energy Systems (PV).

Living or working in an environment with a green roof is a satisfying choice because we are choosing to become more environmentally responsible citizens.

A PV roofs saves money for owners and managers every month by transforming your roof into an asset that provides energy-efficient homes and workplaces.

In fact, PV roofs alone will save Hawaii millions of dollars in deferred energy consumption.

Besides spending less money every month on your electricity bill, you can take advantage of the federal and state tax investment credits.

For commercial buildings, Built-In Photovoltaic (BIPV) roofs can work the best.

However, even with tax credits, the purchase and installation of a BIPV roof can be costly.

We provide solar energy financing for this which assists our customers tremendously.

So whether it’s a BIPV or a PV roof, as long as the sun continues to shine, you can have a risk free, lower cost source of predictable energy.

Guy Akasaki
President
Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing Hawaii Inc.

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Building Industry, January 2010 Newsbeat: “Greenpath Completes PV Project for JWCC” pg.65

The 480 solar modules atop the JWCC, span nearly 12,140 square feet.

A blessing ceremony was held on December 2 for the installation of a photovoltaic (PV) system for the J. Walter Cameron Center (JWCC) in Wailuku, Maui.  The system was installed by GreenPath Technologies, Inc., a native Hawaiian owned and operated renewable energy solutions provider.

“GreenPath Technologies engineered one of the most advanced PV systems available today for (the JWCC).” Says Briand Achong, president and CEO of GreenPath.  “Utilizing PV integration, contracting and turnkey resources, JWCC now has a comprehensive solution to (its) long-term renewable energy needs.”  Achong says the nonprofit center should see an immediate reduction in its operational costs, allowing it to focus more on its charitable objectives and resources.

The system includes 480 high-efficiency, solar modules covering nearly 12,140 square feet of the center’s roof.  According to Achong, the 110,400 kilowatt CD PV system will provide one-fourth of the building’s annual electricity needs.

GreenPath also arranged a power purchase agreement  (PPA) to finance the cost of the system through Sunforce Solutions International-1 (SFSI), a Hawaii-based solar energy finance company.  “Since JWCC is a nonprofit agency, they were unable to take advantage of the tax incentives, and the operation and maintenance required for (this) system.  We are happy to assist with the financing by designing a 20-year PPA, which enabled JWCC to install a state-of-the-art PV system without any investment,” says Craig Hunt, SFSI CEO.  “As long as the sun continues to shine, the JWCC has a risk free, lower cost source of predictable energy for the life of the PPA.”

It is estimated that the system will generate a savings of 35 percent in electricity costs during the PPA term.

The system also will reduce emissions each year equal to approximately 123,733 pounds of coal, 317,887 pounds of carbon dioxide, 1,069 pounds of sulfur dioxide, 458 pounds of nitrogen oxide – equivalent to 24,441 trees planted, 387,086 miles not driven, and 9,471 days of automobiles not driven, according to Achong.

Cesar Gaxiola, executive director of the JWCC, ways, “Although our building is nearly 30 years old, this state-of-the-art PV energy system is a huge upgrade and will better serve the people of Maui with a facility that is energy efficient for at least the next 20 years.  It’s also a great way to demonstrate environmental awareness and responsibility and sets high standards for our future generations.

GreenPath Technologies also provided a sustainable Energy Star-rated cool roof installed by Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing Hawaii, Inc.  “We always consider building and roof integrity while designing a PV systems for our customers,” says Achong.

From left: Cesar Gaxiola, JWCC executive director; Maui County Mayor Charmaine Tavares; Danny Mateo, chair of the Maui County Council; Clyde Murashige, board of directors president for JWCC; and Briand Achong of GreenPath.

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The Maui News, December 3, 2009 News: “Solar panels electrifying”

Solar panels cover a section of the Cameron Center’s roof while project officials give a tour after Wednesday’s blessing ceremony.

Mayor Charmaine Tavares and Council Member Mike Victorino listen as lead project engineer Charles Chacko describes how the photovoltaic inverter transforms DC power from solar panels to AC current for use at the Cameron Center.  “It’s like the brain and heart of the system,” Chacko said.  The solar system installed by GreenPath Tehcnologies Inc. includes 480 high-efficiency solar modules covering more than 12,000 square feet on the center’s roof.  The system is expected to provide 25 percent of the building’s electrical needs.

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Building Management Hawaii June – July 2009

Financing Solar Energy

A new company has been formed to finance photovoltaic projects and help reduce the cost of energy.

It is SunForce Solutions International, Ltd. (SFSI), established in early 2008 as one of the first Hawaii solar energy finance companies.

According to SFSI’s CEO Craig Hunt, the turnkey solar finance company “assists customers with finance options for installation of large and medium-sized photovoltaic (PV) systems through a 15 or 20 year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

“Customers receive their electric power from a SFSI photovoltaic solar system installed on their premises and pay a lower monthly electricity bill to SFSI.

“Normally, PPA is not offered with Built-In Photovoltaic (BIPV) systems; however, SFSI can offer PPA financing if the BIPV system is installed through Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing (CRW), which possesses the skill to install and remove the PV panel without damaging the roof or the solar panel,” said Hunt.

Hunt said solar energy costs are now less than fossil fuel energy costs.

SFSI’s energy finance is comprised of a local network of qualified tax equity investors who provide 100 percent financing for their Hawaii-based customers.

Guy Akasaki, chairman and co-founder of SFSI, is also the principal of Commercial Roofing and Waterproofing.

According to Akasaki, SFSI empowers its clients to integrate renewable energy initiatives with no upfront costs, lower their energy consumption and reduce their operating costs.

“Our customers will see an immediate savings on monthly electric bills and will be able to cap their long term energy costs for 15 to 20 years.”  SFSI’s solar energy equipment includes installation warranties and long-term comprehensive insurance to cover unlikely business interruption of service, general and product liability and property and operations risk.

The SFSI team includes international experts in solar energy finance, design, installation and long-term operations and maintenance.

PG.10 – Industry News

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Building Management Hawaii, June-July 2009 “Is There A Miracle Bucket” p.18 By Larry Young

Roofing assemblies and coatings require a comprehensive approach, and should not be confused with the thoughts that roofing repair materials come in a miracle bucket!

Roof maintenance really begins with preventative maintenance, which includes having a broad understanding and knowledge of the plethora of roofing products available, and their chemical makeup.

Only with this understanding, can the roofing professional select and utilize the proper application for roof management, maintenance and preventative maintenance options.

Let me give you a little history.  In the early roofing days, petroleum-based asphalt and a coal-based pitch were the basic waterproofing products for Hawaii’s low slope and various other vertical roofing applications.  The integrated components of asphalt or a pitch roof provided the waterproofing aspects of a built-up roofing assembly, while the components of the felt layer performed as the reinforcement for the assembly.  The final component, the top aggregate (gravel), acted as the weathering surface and also provided ultraviolet protection.

Then came changes due to rising oil prices.

Thermoplastics were generally used for “white” geographic hot zones, and thermosets such as black rubber EPDM single plys helped with “cool” geographic zones.  Their unique chemical makeup has allowed various conditions to weather against things such as animal fats, acid rain and various chemical residuals.

Today, acrylic coating is widely used.  The main component of an acrylic coating is the base plymer which makes up anywhere from 75-80 percent of the coating.  A good quality acrylic coating is expensive due to its product volume; and fillers…(continued on pg. 20)

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BIA Progress, June – August 2009, Roof Maintenance “Top Side Protection” By Larry Young, Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing

All types of roofing assemblies and coatings require a comprehensive approach, and should not be confused with a thought that roofing repair materials come in a miracle bucket!  Roof maintenance really begins with preventative maintenance, which includes having a broad understanding and knowledge of the plethora of roofing products available, and their chemical makeup.  Only with this understanding, can the roofing professional select and utilize the proper applications for roof management, maintenance, and preventative maintenance options.

In the early roofing days, petroleum based asphalt and a coal-based pitch were the basic waterproofing products for Hawaii’s low slope and various other vertical roofing applications.  The integrated components of asphalt or pa pitch roof provided the waterproofing aspects of the a built-up roofing assembly, while the components of the felt layer performed as the reinforcement for the assembly.  The final component, the top aggregate (gravel), acted as the weathering surface and also provides ultraviolet protection.

As technology advanced, refined barrel oil resulted in lower quality and less oil residual to make a good roofing product.  However, the advent of SBS (styrene butadiene styrene) and APP (attatic polypropylene), which are asphalt modifiers that enhance the performance of the lesser quality asphalt, roofing products and assemblies were given the ability to exceed performances of the asphalt and pitch.

Although the cost of energy has increased, technology has improved so roof assemblies utilize less asphalt.  The increase use of petroleum has helped the industry with thermoplastics, which were generally used for “white” geographic hot zones, and thermosets such as black rubber EPDM single plys for “cool” geographic zones.  Their unique chemical makeup has allowed various conditions to weather against things such as animal fats, acid rain, and various chemical residuals.

Today, acrylic coating has now evolved as part of the roofing assembly and can also be used on vertical surfaces.  Understanding the makeup of acrylic coating, as well as the other above mentioned products is extremely important as it will determine the application and viability.  The main component of an acrylic coating is the base polymer which makes up anywhere from 75 to 80 percent.  A good quality acrylic coating is expensive due to its product volume; and fillers whether they be carbon neutral, ash, and other types of additives such as skaeen (a milewcide), and titanium dioxide (a reflective additive) are necessary components that are also expensive.

There may be an ease of application; however, there are limitations and restrictions such as installing in damp or rainy environments which does not allow the polymers in the coating to completely crosslink and bind (generally takes about 2 weeks to cure).  There are also limitations to the types of assemblies to which this product can be applied over such as hypalon or pvc single ply, which could result in delamination.  The installation of acrylic on pedestrian urethane coating will also at times result in blistering due to the difference in the chemical makeup of the both products.

Acrylic coating is great for waterproofing a surface but it is not able to withstand vehicular and foot traffic such as a parking deck or a roof deck of hospital facilities.  There are also acrylic elastomeric maintenance issues to contend with, especially in vertical to horizontal joints, counter flashing slip joints, ponding water, chemical exposures, and more.  It is also an excellent way of waterproofing an existing rusted metal roof; however, the rust will continue from the bottom of the sheet and through the acrylic coating waterproofing if it is not sealed from the underside.

The various caulking types that are available (skinning, non-skinning, acrylic, aromatic or aliphatic urethane, neoprene, butyl, etc.) are an integral component of the roofing assemblies including acrylic elastomerics in specific installation requirements.   Caulking requires maintenance and resealing due to exposure of the sun’s ultraviolet rays or oxidizing due to rust or the natural metal corrosion process.  Many sheet metal flashing and counter-flashing details are a maintenance issue in all assemblies including acrylic elastomeric due to its inherent characteristic of movement from thermal expansion and contraction.

Both preventative roof management and maintenance of various roof assemblies have advanced technologically in their chemical makeup.  However, they still require proper and comprehensive training and an understanding of chemical makeup and compatibility issues in its upkeep and maintenance.  Extended warranties come with many caveats, and if they are not handles by a properly trained technician, can cause an owner, facilities manager, asset manager, property manger, or condo association to invalidate an otherwise great warranty.

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Building Industry – May 2009


Saving More than Energy

A recent solar installation by Commercial Roofing and Waterproofing

In addition to the obvious energy saving benefits of green building, which, of course also translate into financial savings, a few innovative companies have gone the extra step, actually helping to finance solar installations.  SunForce Solutions International, Ltd. (SFSI) was established early last year as one of the first Hawaii solar energy finance companies.  “We established ourselves as a Hawaii-based company with a local presence,” says SFSI CEO Craig Hunt, “to assist in the growing concern related to energy demands for businesses, educational institutions, government and nonprofits agencies and military bases.  We assist customers with finance options for the installation of large and medium-sized photovoltaic systems through SFSI’s Power Purchase Agreements (PPA).  Through SFSI financing, the customer is able to purchase and install a state-of-the-art PV system and buy lower-cost solar electric power through a 15 or 20 year PPA.” Customers receive their electric power from an SFSI PV system installed on their premises and pay a lower monthly electric bill directly to SFSI.  The interesting point here is that PPAs are not normally offered with building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) systems.  However, SFSI is able to offer PPA financing if the BIPV system is installed by Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing, a local company “that posses the skill to install and remove the PV panel without damaging the roof or the solar panel,” says Hunt.  Guy Akasaki, chairman and co-founder of SFSI, also is a principal of Commercial Roofing and Waterproofing.  “With no capital costs to the end-user,” says Akasaki, “we encourage Hawaii businesses to take a serious look at the solar energy and PPA programs that now are available.  Our customers will see immediate savings on their monthly electric bills and will be able to cap their long-term energy for 15 to 20 years.”

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